Black History Month commemorations planned in Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville City Council member D’Andre Jones speaks during the first ever Leading with Excellence Awards Gala in 2020. The event is part of the local commemoration of Black History Month.


February is Black History Month, and a handful of events are scheduled to commemorate the occasion around the region throughout the month.

The Black Action Collective in Fayetteville is planning a series of events, kicking off with a virtual town hall titled Reflecting on a Moment in History: A Conversation on Racial InJustice and the Murder of Emmett Till at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The town hall will feature guest speakers D’Andre Jones of the Fayetteville City Council, and Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. The conversation will be live-streamed online, and registration is available via EventBrite.

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, BAC will host an event featuring a video presentation of NWA Community Leaders reading from Letter From Birmingham Jail at 7 p.m. at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Following the reading, a panel discussion will take place. This event is presented in partnership with Northwest Arkansas Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). More information and registration is available here.

A virtual event titled Building Racial Equity Training is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17, also presented by the BAC. The training will be led by Lance Read and Sarah Draine of Showing Up For Racial Justice NWA. Here’s more information about the program.

The Collective Expo, an event featuring health screenings, free food, entertainment, information on black-owned businesses, and other resources, is set for 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19 at Fayetteville Town Center, located at 15 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville. Here’s a bit more about that.

A second virtual Town Hall, titled Black Men Deserve To Grow Old, is set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21 online. The discussion will be hosted by Kristen Phantazia Smith, and will include panelists Antoinne Alcorn, LPC, Tenethrea Buffington, LPC, Dr. James Hawkins, LPC, and Richard Smith, Educational Counselor. Registration and a bit more info is here.

Black Action Collective’s Black History Month events will culminate with their 3rd annual Leading with Excellence Awards Gala, set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 at The Fayetteville Town Center. The program will feature financial advisor Genai Walker, activist Tyrone Johnson, and Selma, Alabama mayor James Perkins Jr. Tickets and more info is available at

At the University of Arkansas, Black History Month events kick off with a film screening of Judas and the Black Messiah at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at the Arkansas Union Theatre, followed by a discussion of the film.

The UA, in association with the Black Alumni Society; Office for Diversity & Inclusion, Walton College Career Services; Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education; Career Development Center; Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will also host a Level Up Career Fair Pre-Party from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3. At the event, students in attendance will have the opportunity to network with employers, and practice their interview skills.

Other commemorations planned at the UA include a Black TikTok event at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Arkansas Union Ballroom, and a Black Culture Night set for 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. More information about the UA’s commemoration of Black History Month can be found at the UA’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website.

A full list of Black History Month events in Northwest Arkansas that we know about is below. For a bit more information about the Black Action Collective and their work in NWA, visit their website.

Black History Month Commemorations in NWA

Feb. 1 – Film Screening – Judas and the Black Messiah, 6 p.m., Arkansas Union Theatre
Feb. 2 – Reflecting on a Moment in History: A Conversation on Racial InJustice and the Murder of Emmett Till, 6:30 p.m., live-streamed
Feb. 3 – Level-Up Career Fair Pre-Party, 6 p.m., Arkansas Union Theatre
Feb. 8 – Black TikTok event, 6 p.m., Arkansas Union Theatre
Feb. 9 – Letter From Birmingham Jail reading, panel discussion, 7 p.m., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Feb. 17 – Building Racial Equity Training, town hall, 2 p.m., live-streamed
Feb. 19 – The Collective Expo, 1 p.m., Fayetteville Town Center
Feb. 21 – Black Men Deserve To Grow Old, 6:30 p.m., live-streamed
Feb. 26 – Leading With Excellence Awards Gala, 7 p.m., Fayetteville Town Center
Feb. 28 – Black Culture Night, 6 p.m., Arkansas Union Theatre

Leading with Excellence Honorees

Founders’ Lifetime Achievement Award recipients
Ivory Conley, Jimmye Whitfield, and Dr. Naccaman Williams

The President’s Award recipient
Dr. Jeffery Murdock

Dr. Gordan Morgan Advocacy Award recipients
Dr. Synetra Hughes, Dr. Elecia Smith Walmart Center for Racial Equity

Carolyn Brewer & Candice Graham Black Entrepreneur Award recipient
Chick’n Headz

Michael and Carolyn Wallace Community Service Award recipient
Nate Walls

Esther Silver-Parker Corporate Trailblazer Award recipients
Fredonia Breathitt, Brandon Taylor, Thomas “Tony” Waller, and Latriece Watkins

Thelma Thomason Education & Youth Development Award recipients
Felecia Saine and Dr. Valandra

Dr. David and Patricia Williams Extraordinary Ally Award recipients
Dr. Ted Song and Old Buildings, LLC founded by Ted and Rev. Leslie Belden

Rev. J.A. Hawkins Faith & Spirituality Award recipient
Fellowship of Champions

Edith Hawkins Health & Wellness Award recipients
Dr. Glenda Patterson and Stacee Lambey

Louis P. Bryant Public Safety Award recipient
Gary Craine

Jessie Bryant & Joseph K. Wood Public Service Award recipient
April Legere

Nolan Richardson Sports & Recreation Award recipient
Dr. Margaret Sirman-Clark The Arts Award recipients are Michael Day and Kinya Christian

2021 Showing up for Racial Justice Champions honorees
Dr. Bobby Howard
Chief Mike Reynolds
Carla Curtis
Dr. James and Susie Norys
Dr. Hershey and Denise Garner
Dr. Joel and Lynn Carver
Northwest Arkansas Council

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit